Morihiro Saito Shihan, 9th Dan, Iwama Dojo, Japan passed away on May 13, 2002, after a lengthy illness. Saito Shihan trained Aikido with the founder, Morihei Ueshiba for 23 years, beginning in 1946 at the age of 18. He was keeper of the Aiki Shrine in Iwama and made it his life's work to develop and pass on a systematic curriculum for teaching the founder's Aikido. His son, Hitohiro, has become the Dojo Cho at Iwama Dojo. Saito Shihan's last visit to the US was to Rohnert Park, CA in September 2000.
In his fierce loyalty to his teacher, and to the art of his teacher -- at the expense of self sacrifice -- Saito Shihan has set an example of humility and graciousness for all martial artists to follow.